As executive director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee, Willie Ratchford is responsible for developing, directing and implementing programs and activities to maintain and improve community relations, directing and reviewing equal opportunity investigations and discrimination complaints, advising committee members of and recommending solutions for community problems and providing staff training in antidiscrimination laws, ordinances and regulations. He oversees strategic operations planning, business planning and the development of goals and objectives for the committee.
Ratchford joined the City of Charlotte in 1975 as an intake generalist in the city’s Neighborhood Centers Department and held several management positions there and with the Community Relations Committee before being named executive director of the Community Relations Committee in 1994.
He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tufts University in Medford, Mass. and completed one year of study towards a masters in social work at UNC Chapel Hill. He is a graduate of the Institute of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (certificate of municipal administration), the JFK Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University, the Charlotte Chamber Leadership School and Focus on Leadership. He is also a certified trainer in mediation, diversity, communications, fair housing and sexual harassment.
Ratchford has been active in civil rights for more than 34 years and in 1998 he received the Charlotte Area Peace Corps Association’s first “Peace Prize” for his work to reduce tensions and foster a spirit of harmony in the community. In 2005 he received the Individual Human Rights Award from the National Association of Human Rights Workers and the Nancy Susan Reynolds Award for Race Relations in 2006, presented by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to recognize persons who have encouraged and motivated improved relationships among people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. In 2008 he received the Spirit of Detroit Award in recognition of exceptional achievement, outstanding leadership, and dedication to improving the quality of life. In 2011 he received the Mecklenburg Ministries Community Leader Award. He is a former president of the National Association of Human Rights Workers.
He lives with his family in Charlotte.